Tag Archives: favorite

Christmas Reading List

Since Christmas is coming, I thought I’d list some of my favorite “Christmas” books. Some are set at Christmas-time, some are about Christmas, and some are about THE Christmas.

Set at Christmas

Marian’s Christmas Wish, by Carla Kelly. Adult Regency romance. Less fluffy than some of the genre. What I like best: the heroine is brave and determined and makes the hero change his mind about what he wants (with her brain, not her fluttering eyelashes).

Donna Andrews’ Meg Langslow series. Adult mystery. She has several Christmas volumes out by now, so pick one. The mystery is good, the humor is better.

The Thirteen Days of Christmas, by Jenny Overton. Young adult historical romance. Annaple’s suitor woos her with gifts. Mildly sweet, heavily funny.

About Christmas (loosely speaking)

The Silent Bells, by William MacKellar & Ted Lewin. Juvenile historical fiction. The cathedral bells are silent, but there’s a legend that one day they will ring again if the right gift is presented on Christmas.

A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens. Historical fiction. You know, the one about Ebenezer Scrooge. Although a little heavy-handed, it’s also a classic for a reason.

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, by Barbara Robinson. Juvenile contemporary. When the worst kids in town take over the annual Christmas pageant, the results are both absolutely hilarious and extremely touching.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas, by Dr. Seuss. Juvenile poetry. If you’ve only seen the movie remakes, you are seriously missing out. (The cartoon based directly on the book is good.) This is the classic, and it’s a classic for a reason.

The Twenty-Four Days of Christmas, by Madeline L’Engle. Juvenile contemporary. Vicky’s baby sibling is due around Christmas, but she doesn’t want it if it means Mother will be gone. A sweet Advent book.

The First Christmas

Alphabet of Dreams, by Susan Fletcher. Juvenile historical fiction. A young lady (disguised as a boy) and her younger brother with prophetic dreams join the Magi to visit the newborn Christ. I read it as a Beehive Award nominee, and it was one of my favorites that year.

How Far to Bethlehem? by Norah Lofts. Adult historical fiction. This story of the Magi is not as well-written (a bit dry & awkward), but the characters are compelling and the story is touching.

The Donkey’s Gift, by Thomas M. Coffey. Told from the point of view of the rebellious donkey who carried Mary to Bethlehem, this is another hilarious-but-touching story.

Luke 2, in The Holy Bible. The ultimate classic story of Christmas. 😉

What’s your favorite Christmas story?

Merry Christmas,
M. C. Lee

Thanksgiving Reading List

I’m very thankful for my family, so in honor of Thanksgiving, I decided to post a list of some of my favorite books about families. I’ve limited it to fiction (or easy-to-read biography), not nonfiction/self-help/parenting.

In random order, but categorized for your convenience, here are a dozen suggestions for your Thanksgiving reading pleasure.

Contemporary (or close):

Cheaper by the Dozen/Belles on Their Toes, by Frank B. Gilbreth Jr. & Ernestine Gilbreth Carey (Biography. Hilariously funny, tremendously moving, and not even in the same class as the stupid new movies.)

Chickens in the Headlights, by Matthew Buckley (Biography. Also hilariously funny.)

Ramona Quimby series, by Beverly Cleary (Such an accurate portrayal of the ups AND downs of family life.)

Dear Lola: Or How to Build Your Own Family, by Judie Angell (A bunch of orphans face off the world to form their own family.)

North of Beautiful, by Christina Chen (A girl with a birthmark learns about true beauty and love.)

Historical:

The Glamorist Histories series, by Mary Robinette Kowal (“Jane Austen meets magic,” but so intertwined with family drama. Could also be filed under fantasy.)

The War That Saved My Life, by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley (A confined girl is finally set free of her rooms and discovers what family should actually be like.)

The Five Little Peppers, by Margaret Sydney (Okay, so it’s pretty old-fashioned, but I love the way the siblings love each other so much.)

Fantasy:

Ordinary Magic, by Caitlen Rubino-Bradway (When an ordinary girl is born into a magical family, what will they do with her?)

Castle Glower series, by Jessica Day George (When you’re an ordinary princess in an extraordinary family, how do you find a place for yourself?)

The Princesses of Westfalin Trilogy, by Jessica Day George (The 12 Dancing Princesses, but better. And the series continues with other fairy tale retellings, so how can you go wrong?)

The Leland Sisters series, by Marissa Doyle (Historical YA romance, with sisters who are always there for each other.)

What are you thankful for this year? What book has made you the most thankful for something in your life?

Happy Thanksgiving (early),
M. C. Lee

Strong Heroines

I was thinking about my last book post and that started me thinking about what makes a character, particularly a woman, strong. Now, I know men and women are just people, and a strong character is a strong character regardless of gender. (Did you stop throwing tomatoes yet?) But sometimes some people think a “strong woman” has to be strong physically, or good with weapons, or compete in a “man’s world.”

Since that’s never what I’ve thought, I wanted to talk about my definitions.

Let’s start with the difference between “strong” and “gentle,” since some people think someone can’t be both. Here’s what I decided. “Strong” is how well you resist pressure exerted on you. “Gentle” is how much pressure you exert on others. So while the terms are related, the direction of the pressure is important, and one person can be both at the same time.

Now, back to our heroines (and heroes). Is a strong warrior a strong person? Maybe, maybe not. The neighborhood bully that threatens people with his sword might be a strong warrior, but he isn’t a strong person. The unarmed traveler who gently refuses to comply with the demands of a robber is a strong person. (Possibly a dead strong person, but we can hope not.)

I’m going to borrow some of the heroes/heroines from last month’s post as examples. 🙂 And yes, I cheated and threw in a couple of men. Strong is strong.

In The Great and Terrible Quest, the two main protagonists (heroes) are a wounded knight and a young boy. The knight is physically strong enough to fight multiple enemies, climb a cliff without a rope, and keep moving after enemies split his head. That’s not what impresses me most about him, though. He continues on his quest for ten years(!) through near-death and total memory loss, not to gain a reward for himself, but to give his own inheritance to the true owner. Wow, that’s strength of character. As for the little boy, he has very little physical strength (he is just a little boy), but he defies his robber-baron grandfather and the entire robber band to save an injured cat and then the wounded knight. He risks his life (Grandfather is a dangerous jerk) to save others, and he leads the knight ever onward despite enemies at every turn and almost no help from the knight. His strong determination and faith carry the story, and I love it.

The Ordinary Princess, Amy, is like Cimorene in some ways, like not wanting to be a princess. (Enchanted Forest series, by Wrede. Add it to your list.) But in others, she is very different. Amy doesn’t have a spitfire personality. She never picks up a weapon and doesn’t know any magic or even how to cook. She never fights anyone and doesn’t have any enemies. Amy is a cheerful, gentle soul. But when her parents decide to hire a dragon to attract a suitor, she runs away to protect her kingdom and ends up working as a kitchen maid until she’s drooping with exhaustion. I call that strength.

In the Crown Duel duology, our heroine does fight with a sword (very badly) and ride a horse (adequately) and try to improve politics (oh-so-disastrously). She doesn’t even know how to read, but I can’t call her weak. She keeps trying against overwhelming odds, even when torture and execution seem the inevitable next steps. And (spoiler) she wins. Not by feat of arms or might of army, but by one voice saying the right thing for morally right reasons. How strong can you get?

The heroine of Seven Daughters and Seven Sons is another non-combatant. I almost said non-fighter, but she does fight. She fights for her family’s financial security with her wits. She turns enemies into friends or finds ways to render them helpless, and all without a weapon. By the end of the story, her father, long thought cursed because he had only seven daughters, is praising her name and counting her better than his brother’s seven sons. Smart and caring is strong, too.

I could name more, but I think I’ve babbled long enough. Which characters in books you’ve read impressed YOU with their strength? What kind of strength did they have? What strength do you wish you had?

Trying to be stronger,
M. C. Lee

Books I Had to Buy

Obviously, I read enough that I can’t possibly buy every book I read. I can’t even buy every book I RE-read. That’s why I love my public library. 🙂

But there are some books that I bought from my teeny book budget because I couldn’t stand not having them around whenever the craving hit. Here are some of them.

The Chronicles of Narnia, by C. S. Lewis. A classic for a reason. Despite being slightly light on characters, heart and meaning are written into every book. I have the original-order set, both for sentimental reasons and because they are more meaningful when read in the order the author intended.

The Chronicles of Prydain, by Lloyd Alexander. I am permanently in love with the characters. Permanently. Don’t fight me on this, because I. Will. Win.

The Great and Terrible Quest, by Margaret Lovett. I had to search this one out on the internet, but it was so worth it. This one is less well-known, so let me tell you a bit about it. A young boy hides a wounded man from his nasty grandfather and his band of thieves, then decides to help the man succeed in his forgotten quest. And by forgotten, I mean the man has amnesia, but whatever memory he lost is important enough to keep him moving despite a split head. Because nobody in the story knows what’s going on for a while, it can be confusing, but it’s worth the wait for the reveal.

Minnipin series, by Carol Kendall. I like Gammage better than Glocken, I’ll admit. I love the spunky (but very ordinary) heroes, who don’t fit in but save the village BECAUSE of their differences.

Silver Woven in My Hair, by Shirley Rousseau Murphy. It’s a Cinderella story (oddly enough, with a heroine who collects Cinderella stories), but I love the realistic romance and the heroine who keeps trying no matter what.

The Ordinary Princess, by M.M. Kaye. This is my favorite romance, even though it’s a children’s book. Really, truly. It’s actually marketed as a fantasy, which totally makes sense, because Princess Amy runs away when her parents decide to get a dragon to enhance her marriageability. But it’s a story of true love, and I adore it.

Crown Duel & Court Duel, by Sherwood Smith. Here is another can’t-say-die heroine. I feel a lot of empathy for her social awkwardness and her burning intent to do the right thing no matter what others say or how much trouble it lands her in. I always wince when those two traits wrap themselves around each other in the most troublesome ways, but oh, it makes a wonderful story.

Shattered Stone, by Robert Newman. I used to just check this one out from the library regularly, but then I moved and my new library didn’t have it. Can’t have that! This is a fantasy mystery about traitors and war and lost identities, but I also love the romantic ending.

Enchantress From the Stars, by Sylvia Engdahl. It’s sci-fi, but with a fantasy feel, with a heroine who is determined to do the right thing even if it kills her. Literally.

A Wrinkle in Time series, by Madeline L’Engle. Granted, I like some books in the series better than others, but I still own the whole thing. This is another classic-for-a-reason, and the movies totally miss the reason.

The Baker Street series, by Robert Newman. You can call it a Sherlock Holmes spin-off, which is accurate enough. Though they are mysteries, it’s the characters that make me return to the series over and over and wish Newman wrote a few more of them.

Seven Daughters and Seven Sons, by Barbara Cohen. A historical fiction about a girl who disguises herself as a boy to make her family’s fortune. Yes, I like strong heroines, and no, I don’t think “strong” means “good with a sword.”

One Hundred and One Dalmatians, by Dodie Smith. This is not the Disney version. Let me repeat, this is the original, not the Disney version. Disney made a cute movie of the book, but he lost the inherent sweetness of Dodie’s story.

The Belgariad and The Mallorean series, by David Eddings. I once stood in a bookstore reading part of the newest book and laughing so hard that everyone stared. Fortunately, I got to do my crying in private. More characters that I love ever so much.

The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, by J. R. R. Tolkien. Not for the faint of heart, I admit, but I’ve been hooked since I was eight years old. I’ve reread them so many times that my husband assures me I am a TERRIBLE person with whom to watch the movies.

Most of Georgette Heyer’s romances (with The Masqueraders at the top of the list). Heyer, in general, writes romances that feel real. Real characters, real situations (for the time), real reasons to laugh and cry, and most importantly, real reasons to love.

I’m sure I’ve missed something, but that should give you at least a few days of reading. 😉

What book did you HAVE TO BUY?
M. C. Lee

My Favorite Newbery Winners

I haven’t read all the Newbery winners since 1922, but I have read a lot of them. Here are my favorites, all four or five star reads for me.

Science Fiction

A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeline L’Engle. Meg’s father disappeared a year ago, and now three crazy ladies claim she and her little brother and a new maybe-friend can travel instantly across space to rescue him. This has been made into movies, but none of them are as good as the book. Controversial at the time for a children’s book, this has become a classic for very good reasons. I love the characters, love the fantastic settings, love and hate the way the plot makes me think about the world and good vs evil, and love the way Meg succeeds. The rest of the series is also good, though the first two books are the best.

The Giver, by Lois Lowry. Okay, not exactly sci-fi, but sort of. In a future world, Jonas lives in the perfect society, without fear, poverty, or war. Then his new job as the Receiver of Dreams reveals secrets that could destroy his entire world. This has been made into a movie, too, with mixed results. The book is still better. While not a “fun” read, this is very thought-provoking, and Lois does a great job of dribbling out the revelations until we finally understand. I did *not* enjoy the others in the series.

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, by Robert C. O’Brien. This one is also hard to classify. In part contemporary beast tale, in part speculative sci-fi, this is the story of a mouse who discovers her deceased mate was an escaped inmate of scientific experiments that increased his intelligence to human levels. When Mrs. Frisby’s house and sick son are threatened by the plow, she turns to the likewise intelligent rats for help. The movie is cute, but the book is touching. Mrs. Frisby isn’t as smart as the rats, but her courage and motherly love carry her through the story.

Fantasy

The Grey King, by Susan Cooper. The finale in a series between the Dark and the Light. Memories lost to illness, only a broken riddle can guide Will to retrieve a magical harp from the most powerful Lord of the Dark, the Grey King. Though the book is set in “modern” times, at least in part, it definitely has the feel of ancient fantasy seeping down through the years. Will is a great hero, strong despite weakness, and the book wraps up the hanging threads from the rest of the series into a tidy conclusion.

The Hero and the Crown, by Robin McKinley. Aerin is the daughter of the king and a witch. Powerless though she is, her tainted blood has banned her from the throne. Now dragons are stalking the land, and she is the only one who can fight them. While I would classify Aerin as a strong heroine, it’s not her sword fighting or horse riding that makes her so. Instead, it’s her honesty, her determination, and her desire to protect her land that make her the hero of the story.

The High King, by Lloyd Alexander. Another series finale. When the most powerful weapon in  Prydain falls into the hands of Arawn-Death-Lord, Taran, Assistant Pig-Keeper, and Prince Gwydion raise an army to march against Mount Dragon, Arawn’s stronghold. I love the characters so, so much, and while this last book is sad, it is the fulfillment of the series in many ways. The characters have matured into even more wonderful people who make hard choices because it’s the right thing to do.

The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman. Let’s call this one urban fantasy. It’s set in modern times, but with ghosts and other supernatural creatures. Nobody Owens, known as Bod, would be completely normal if he wasn’t raised by ghosts. If Bod leaves the graveyard, he will come under attack from the man who killed Bod’s family. The book can get a little spooky at times, but isn’t actually horror. The mystery builds and builds, and while I guessed things ahead of time, it didn’t ruin my enjoyment of watching the author draw all the strands together into a tapestry. While the basic story is very good all by itself, the little touches Neil adds in puns and allusions made it even more enjoyable for me.

Historical Fiction

The Bronze Bow, by Elizabeth George Speare. Daniel bar Jamin wants to revenge his father’s death by forcing the Romans from Israel. His hatred wanes only when he starts to hear the gentle lessons of Jesus of Nazareth. The historical aspects are good, but what really touched my heart was the vision of love winning over hate.

King of the Wind, by Marguerite Henry. The Sultan sent six of the best horses in the kingdom to the King of France! Agba, the mute horseboy, knew his horse Sham would be chosen. But when a corrupt boat captain steals the food for their journey, the horses nearly die by the time they arrive. And the King of France sends Sham to be a workhorse! Will he ever be able to prove himself the champion that he is? I don’t know if Agba or Sham is the better character, but I felt for both of them throughout the story. I’m not a true horse-enthusiast (call me pleasantly neutral), but I still liked the horse parts and the history.

A Single Shard, by Linda Sue Park. Tree-ear, an orphan, wants nothing more than to watch master potter Min at work, and he dreams of making a pot of his own someday. When Min takes Tree-ear on as his helper, Tree-ear is determined to prove himself–even if it means arriving at the royal court with nothing to show but a single celadon shard. Tree-ear is another ordinary hero who wins through determination and character rather than flashy skills and big battles. The historical aspects make an excellent backdrop to Tree-ears character arc.

Sarah, Plain and Tall, by Patricia MacLachlan. Sarah comes from Maine to the prairie to answer Papa’s advertisement for a wife and mother. Will Sarah be nice? Will she sing? Will she stay? Though a children’s book, this is a great example of a historical romance. Love grows slowly as the characters get to know each other, and in the end, we believe because we’ve seen why. The movie is pretty good.

Contemporary

Holes, by Louis Sachar. Stanley Yelnats is under a curse that has followed generations of Yelnats. Now Stanley has been unjustly sent to a boys’ detention center where the warden makes the boys “build character” by spending every day digging holes. It doesn’t take long for Stanley to realize the warden is looking for something. The mixed-up timeline is a little confusing, but the reasons for it become clear by the end. Louis doesn’t waste a word as he lays out the clues, and the revelations at the end tie everything together perfectly. The movie for this one is actually pretty good.

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, by E.L. Konigsburg. When Claudia decided to run away, she planned very carefully. She would be gone just long enough to teach her parents a lesson in Claudia appreciation. And she would live in comfort at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She saved her money, and she invited her brother Jamie to go, mostly because be was a miser and would have money. It takes a mystery and Mrs. Basil to teach her how to go home again. I enjoyed the mystery, but the biggest draw for me was the relationship of the siblings.

Bridge to Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson. Jess Aarons’ greatest ambition is to be the fastest runner in his grade. But on the first day of school, a new girl boldly crosses over to the boys’ side and outruns everyone. He and Leslie Burke become inseparable, creating Terabithia, a magical kingdom in the woods where the two of them reign as king and queen, and their imaginations set the only limits. Imagination and friendship are the true kings in this book, despite its sad ending. (My husband watched the movie with tears rolling down his face and accused me of cruelty for recommending it.)

There you go! Fourteen books from the Newbery Award Winners. How long will it take you to read them all?

Happy reading,
M. C. Lee

Get to Know Yourself in Book Club

My sister thought a list of book club suggestions would be great for summer. She said, “List ones that make you think and have things to discuss.” So I was looking through my posts of favorite books and ran across my Personality/Cognition list, which is thankfully much shorter than the almost-200 personality/behavior books I have listed as “read” on Goodreads. Reading about personality and behavior always makes ME think about myself, others, and the world. Maybe it will do the same for you.

This time, let’s go over the Personality books, and maybe another time I’ll cover some of the Cognition ones.

Personality Types: Using the Enneagram for Self-Discovery, by Don Richard Riso

The Enneagram splits personalities into nine categories. One of the unique things about this system is that it discusses the difference between healthy and unhealthy versions of each type, and what traits you should aspire to gain (based on type). It took me a long time to figure out my type under this system, but I learned a lot about myself when I did.

The Color Code: A New Way to See Yourself, Your Relationships, and Life, by Taylor Hartman

The Color Code sorts people by motivation: power, intimacy, peace, fun (or a combination). It also helpfully discusses how to deal with people of other “colors” in more productive and less frustrating ways. For instance, red and blue are the most controlling colors, but for completely different reasons. If you don’t understand WHY they are trying to control you, you might fight the battle on the wrong front entirely.

The Four Tendencies: The Indispensable Personality Profiles That Reveal How to Make Your Life Better, by Gretch Ruben

The Four Tendencies sorts people by how they respond to external or internal expectations. If you’ve ever wondered why some people can set and follow goals all by themselves and others can’t, this is for you. This one also gives tips on how to deal with people of other types. If you have a rebellious (by nature, not stress) teen in your life, you can learn tips here.

The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate, by Gary Chapman

Love Languages has a narrow focus on how to feel/share appreciation, but in that field, it’s a gem. If you’ve ever lavished extra loving care on your significant other, only to have him/her complain that you never appreciate them, you probably have a disconnect in your love languages. This book can tell you how to identify and fix that. My significant other and I have very different primary languages but the same secondary. We use our secondary a lot…

Reading People: How Seeing the World through the Lens of Personality Changes Everything, by Anne Bogel

Reading People is the “sampler” book of personality discussion. It dips into the Meyers-Briggs (16 Personalities), the Enneagram, StrengthsFinder, Highly Sensitive People, and more. It doesn’t discuss any of them in “enough” detail, but if you’re looking for variety or want to figure out where to go next, this might be the book for you.

So, do any of these sound like something your book club would like to read and discuss?

Happy reading and personality-analyzing,
M. C. Lee

Books That Should be Made into Movies

This list is totally my opinion, but here are some books I think would make good movies. Hollywood, are you listening to me?

In random order:

Devil on My Back, by Monica Hughes. Dystopian sci-fi with a “big brother” hooked right into you.

The Shattered Stone, by Robert Newman. Fantasy with a touch of mystery. Who betrayed the truce and broke the stone?

Winter of Magic’s Return and Tomorrow’s Magic, by Pamela F. Service. Fantasy-in-the-future and the return of Merlin as a teenager with amnesia.

The Blue Sword, by Robin McKinley. Dragons and a strong heroine with brains.

Knee-Deep in Thunder, by Sheila Moon. An underground world of fantasy with larger-than-life animal characters.

Silver Woven in My Hair, by Shirley Rousseau Murphy. A Cinderella story with a more satisfactory romance.

Crown Duel/Court Duel, by Sherwood Smith. Magic, rebellion, and court intrigue, with a touch of magic.

The Gammage Cup, by Carol Kendall. Five ordinary Minnipins become heroes in spite of themselves.

The Great and Terrible Quest, by Margaret Lovett. A quick-witted orphan eludes his evil grandfather to help a wounded knight on a quest he can’t even remember.

The Masqueraders, by Georgette Heyer. A Georgian romance with intrigue and compelling characters who sometimes cross-dress to disguise themselves.

Have Space Suit–Will Travel, by Robert A. Heinlein. Two kidnapped children must convince a galactic council not to eradicate Earth.

Code Orange, by Caroline B. Cooney. Contemporary suspense. Don’t ever advertise on the internet that you might have a source of biological warfare. Don’t ever say you might BE a source of biological warfare…

The Queen’s Thief series, by Megan Whalen Turner. Fantasy. Don’t believe what you see, because you probably misunderstood, even without magic. This is one series where I can imagine the camera angles without even trying.

Dragon Slippers series, by Jessica Day George. A brave girl defends dragons. Yes, I got that in the right order.

Knight and Rogue series, by Hilari Bell. Knights errant have been a legend for 200 years, until Michael decides to resurrect the obsolete occupation and drags a reluctant thief with him.

The False Prince series, by Jennifer A. Nielsen. Fantasy and intrigue, and another case of not believing what you see. When the royal family is killed, who will step up to impersonate the lost prince?

What’s on your Make Mine a Movie list?

M. C. Lee

Books That Need Sequels

Don’t you hate it when authors stop a series you like before it’s actually finished? I do! So here are some books that I think the authors should hurry up and sequel already. (I’m excluding relatively new releases that might already have unannounced sequels planned.)

If there ARE sequels for these, tell me, would you? I’ve been waiting…

The Nascenza Conspiracy, by V. Briceland.

Ordinary Magic, by Caitlen Rubino-Bradway.

Perception, by Kim Harrington

Timekeeper, by Alexandra Monir

The Darkness Dwellers, by Kirsten Miller

A Cold Black Wave, by Timothy H. Scott

Dragon Run, by Patrick Mathews

Freaks, by Kieran Larwood

The Watcher in the Shadows, by Chris Moriarty

Treecat Wars, by David Weber.

The Last Enchanter, by Laurisa White Reyes

The Seers, by Julianna Scott

Tristi Pinkston’s mysteries

Silent Starsong, and The Earl’s Childe, by T. J. Wooldridge

The Black Stars, by Dad Krokos

The Tree of Water, by Elizabeth Haydon

Silver in the Blood, by Jessica Day George

The Sign of the Cat, by Lynne Jonell

(editor’s note: I stopped in 2016, so updates should pick up there)

If you have any pull with these authors, tell them to get on the ball! 😉

What books do YOU want to have sequels?

Happy reading,

M. C. Lee

 

Emotion Thesaurus, Second Edition

I’ve been using the original Emotion Thesaurus for a year. My critique partners recommended it when they got tired of trying to explain how to add emotion to my story. And they were right; it’s a great resource anytime I think, “Now, how can I show what my characters are feeling? How can I make my reader feel their emotions?”

So when I scored an Advance Reader Copy of the second edition, I was intrigued and excited. What would the difference be? Would the authors add new emotions? Would there be other changes?

Yes, there are new emotions. Yes, there are other changes. And they’re great!

Besides the old sections of effectively mixing verbal, physical, and thoughts, and a reminder about moderation, there is now an intro section on baseline behavior and personalities, to remind you that different characters will respond differently to the same events, depending on their inherent traits. There’s a section on speech patterns, so your characters don’t all sound alike. There’s a section on subtext that I desperately needed…

Within the emotion entries, there used to be a “Could escalate to” reference that is still there but expanded. Now there is also a “Could de-escalate to” reference that would have made my life a lot easier if it had been in the first edition. Another new section in each emotion entry is a list of associated power verbs. Yes! Now I don’t have to strain my brain trying to think of action verbs to fit the emotion, because the authors have already done the hard work for me! I’m so excited. You might have noticed…

A few of the old emotions have been split to differentiate between subtly different feelings. Some definitions have been improved. A lot of new emotions have been added. I won’t list them all, but some of my favorites include:

  • appall
  • apprehension
  • betrayed
  • certainty
  • despair
  • devastation
  • discouraged
  • grief
  • homesick
  • horror
  • hysteria
  • moved
  • obsessed
  • pleased
  • powerlessness
  • self-pity
  • shock
  • stunned
  • unappreciated
  • validated
  • valued
  • vengeful
  • vulnerable
  • wanderlust
  • wistful

For several of those, I sighed. Why didn’t I have those when I was writing my last book? At least I have them for my works-in-progress. *rub hands together with glee*

Thanks, Angela & Becky, for making my stories better and my writing easier. And thanks for the sneak peek.

Now, all you writers out there, I’m not going to tell you to buy the book, but if you struggle with expressing emotion on the page, or if your readers say they don’t FEEL it, maybe this would be a good tool for you. It is for me.

For  more information, you can go here.

M. C. Lee

Favorite Religious Books

Here are some of my favorite religious books, not counting the scriptures, which would come at the top of the otherwise random list:

Bad Guys of the Book of Mormon, by Dennis Gaunt

Your Happily Ever After, by Dieter F. Uchtdorf

12 Keys to Developing Spiritual Maturity, by Richard G Moore

Finding God in the Land of Narnia, by Kurt Bruner

Brent L. Top

Standing for Something, by Gordon B. Hinckley

Repentance, by Ezra Taft Benson

Divine Signatures: The Confirming Hand of God, by Gerald N Lund

My Soul Delighteth in the Scriptures, by H. Wallace Goddard

Created for Greater Things, by Jeffery R. Holland

House of Learning, by Richard M Walker

Talking with God: Divine Conversations That Transform Daily Life, by Robert L. Millet

To Lead as Jesus Led, by Eric G. Stephen

A Quiet Heart, Patricia C. Holland

Jesus the Christ, by James E. Talmage

Believing Christ: The Parable of the Bicycle and Other Good News, by Stephen E Robinson

C.S. Lewis (some are religious books, some are not)

The Legal Cases in the Book of Mormon, by John W. Welch (density warning)

Men of Valor: The Powerful Impact of a Righteous Man, by Robert L. Millet

The Cost of Winning: Coming in First Across the Wrong Finish Line, by Dean Hughes

The Infinite Atonement, by Tad R. Callister

Robert I. Eaton

Amazed by Grace, by Sheri Dew

Brad Wilcox

Raising an Army of Helaman’s Warriors: A Guide for Parents to Prepare the Greatest Generation of Missionaries, by Mark D. Ogletree

John Bytheway

Mary Ellen Edmunds

Covenant Hearts, by Bruce C. Hafen

What Would a Holy Woman Do?, by Wendy Watson Nelson

Consider the Blessings, by Thomas S. Monson

Michael S. Wilcox

Hard Times and Holy Places, by Kristen Warner Belcher

Echoes and Evidences of the Book of Mormon, by John W. Welch

How?: Essential Skills for Living the Gospel, by John Hilton